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2021 Winter storm killed this tree.

Now it’s literally falling apart.

Winter storm damaged tree removalIn the Abilene and West Texas regions, the aftermath of the Texas Winter Storm in February 2021 is still evident with numerous damaged trees. A photograph received from the south side of Abilene recently shows one such tree that succumbed to the storm’s impact, and now, by mid-July 2023, it is visibly disintegrating.

If you find yourself facing a similar situation with damaged, diseased, or dead trees on your property, it is crucial to address the issue promptly.

Neglecting it could lead to further deterioration and pose risks such as the tree falling onto your property or causing harm to individuals.

For reliable tree removal services, turn to Thornton’s Tree Service.

Our team is equipped to handle the safe and efficient removal of problematic trees, ensuring the safety of your property and those around you.

We’re your best choice for tree care services in Abilene, Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Brownwood, Weatherford, and West Texas.

unmasking google bots

Online reviews have become an integral part of our decision-making process, especially when it comes to choosing a business or service. Here at Thornton’s Tree Service, we’re proud of our work and it shows with the authentic reviews our customers provide us with on Google, Yelp, etc.

Among the numerous platforms available, Google Reviews stands out as one of the most popular and trusted sources for gathering customer feedback. However, with the rise of fake reviews generated by bots, it’s essential to develop a discerning eye to ensure the authenticity of these reviews. We’ve noticed an uptick in Abilene area businesses in our vertical relying on fake reviews, so in this blog post, we’ll explore effective strategies to check Google reviews and separate genuine feedback from artificial ones.

Assess the Overall Review Profile:
When evaluating a business’s Google reviews, the first step is to examine the overall profile. Look for signs that indicate the presence of bot-generated reviews. An excessive number of reviews posted in a short span of time, an unusual pattern of ratings (e.g., an overwhelmingly positive or negative sentiment), and repeated phrases or keywords across multiple reviews are red flags to watch out for. Genuine reviews typically exhibit a natural variation in language, tone, and content.

Evaluate Reviewer Profiles:
Examining the profiles of reviewers can provide valuable insights into the authenticity of their feedback. Look for details such as profile pictures, names, and the number of reviews they have contributed. Be cautious of profiles lacking images or using stock photos, generic names, or a high number of reviews posted within a short timeframe. Also, profiles that show a link to a Google Map location that is far from the actual business location. If you see a map of Arkansas for example with a review from someone supposedly reviewing an Abilene business, that’s a red flag.  Genuine reviewers usually have a diverse range of reviewing activities, including contributions to other businesses and locations.

Analyze Review Content:
The content of reviews plays a crucial role in determining their authenticity. Bots often generate generic, overly positive, or excessively negative feedback that lacks specific details about the customer’s experience. Genuine reviews, on the other hand, tend to be more detailed, and personalized, and highlight specific aspects of the business, such as exceptional customer service or a particular product or service offering. Pay attention to the language, relevance, and specific information provided within the reviews to identify genuine feedback.

Look for Verified Purchases:
If the business sells products or services online, consider checking for verified purchases. Google offers an option for customers to leave reviews only if they have made a purchase through the associated Google account. Verified purchases indicate a higher likelihood of genuine feedback, as they reflect actual transactions. This feature helps filter out bots and incentivizes customers to provide honest reviews based on their first-hand experiences.

Cross-reference Reviews:
Cross-referencing reviews across different platforms can provide a broader perspective on a business’s reputation. Check if the business has reviews on other platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, or industry-specific directories. Comparing the content, tone, and ratings across multiple platforms can help identify consistent patterns and validate the legitimacy of the reviews. If a business shows they have over 200 Google reviews but only one review on Yelp or Facebook that’s also a red flag.

As consumers, we all rely on online reviews to guide our choices in our daily lives, making it imperative to distinguish between genuine feedback and bot-generated reviews. By adopting a critical approach and analyzing various aspects of the reviews, including overall patterns, reviewer profiles, review content, verified purchases, and cross-referencing, we can better assess the credibility of Google reviews. Remember that while no method is foolproof, a combination of these strategies can significantly enhance your ability to identify authentic customer feedback, empowering you to make informed decisions and support businesses that truly deserve it.

So, the next time you’re contemplating a purchase or looking for a reliable service provider, take a closer look at those Google reviews and unravel the truth behind them!

Wow, it’s been a crazy spring 2023 with severe storms all over the Abilene area, but what should you do after a storm when it comes to tree care?

After a storm, it’s essential to assess the condition of the trees on your property to determine if they have been damaged. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your trees:

Safety first: Before checking out your trees, ensure there are no immediate hazards such as broken branches hanging precariously or leaning trees that could fall. If you notice any dangerous situations, keep a safe distance and contact our tree service for assistance. We’ll come out and let you know what your options are for removal.

Visual inspection: Walk around your property and carefully observe the trees. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as:

  • Broken or hanging branches: Assess the branches to see if they have snapped or are dangling dangerously. It’s important to note that some branches may have fallen to the ground already.
  • Leaning or uprooted trees: Check if any trees have been uprooted or are leaning significantly. This may indicate damage to the roots or weakened stability.
  • Split or cracked trunks: Inspect the main trunk of the trees for any splits, cracks, or signs of damage. Such damage can compromise the tree’s structural integrity.
  • Canopy damage: Examine the tree’s canopy for extensive loss of leaves, broken limbs, or any irregularities in its overall shape. This could indicate severe damage.
  • Assess your property carefully: Look for any fallen branches or debris around your trees, as these can be indicators of damage. Assess if there are any signs of impact on the ground or nearby structures like garages and workshops.
  • Check for signs of distress: Pay attention to signs of distress in the trees in the days and weeks after the storm. Look for wilting leaves, browning foliage, or even fungal growth on the trunk or branches. These symptoms may indicate underlying damage or stress caused by the storm.

If you’re unsure about the condition of your trees or if you suspect significant damage, it’s best to consult a tree service with the expertise to assess tree health and provide appropriate recommendations for pruning, tree removal, or any necessary remedial actions.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. If you’re uncertain or feel uncomfortable assessing the trees on your own, it’s advisable to seek professional help to ensure an accurate evaluation and appropriate action if needed. Give a call today!

Spring here in West Central Texas is a super important time to take care of your trees after the long winter months. Especially with all of the storms with high winds, we’ve been having lately.  Here are some spring tree care tips that can help keep your property safe and looking great:

Inspect your trees: Inspect all of the trees on your property for any damage caused by winter weather or disease. Check for broken or damaged branches, cracked trunks, and signs of pest infestations. We were just out to a residence to provide a quote and we noticed a large hollow spot on a tree adjacent to the tree the property owner wanted to be removed or trimmed due to the 2021 Freeze damage.

Prune your trees: Prune any dead or damaged branches. This is actually a dangerous situation with the high winds we’ve been experiencing, especially in the trees that were damaged in the February 2021 Freeze. The tree trimming will help improve the tree’s overall health and appearance.

Fertilize your trees: Apply a slow-release fertilizer to your trees to promote healthy growth. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions on the product label. This will also help the trees stand the stress of our hot Texas summers.

Mulch your trees: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of your trees. This will help conserve moisture, control weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Please, please, please do not have the mulch touch the tree trunk. Also, do not create those “volcano mounds” around your trees. The mulch is there to keep the soil around the tree moist and it has to let your sprinkler water or rainwater get down to the roots. Those large mounds will actually kill your trees by cutting off needed watering.

Water your trees: When you water, make sure to give your trees a deep watering, especially if the soil is dry as it has been. A thorough watering will help the tree flourish and establish strong roots and stay healthy throughout the season.

Oak Wilt diseased trees
Oak Wilt diseased trees

Protect your trees: Protect your trees from pests and diseases by applying insecticides and fungicides as needed. Keep an eye out for signs of insect infestations, such as holes in leaves or bark, and treat them promptly. Remember that if you have Live Oak trees, oak wilt is definitely a problem.

You will see oak wilt show up on the leaves of the trees. You will see a pattern that often reminds people of “fish bones”, and that’s called veinal necrosis. The leaf veins become yellow or brown and the leaf soon falls off the tree.

By following these spring tree care tips, you can help your trees thrive.

We do have a lot of Bradford Pear trees around the Abilene area but these trees do have a hidden danger and will eventually need to be removed.

bradford pear tree
Courtesy: USDA Bradford Pear or Callery Pear

They are quick-growing ornamental shade trees that are not native to Texas.

They get to be about 20 feet tall and are pretty when they bloom in the spring. If you have them on your property or walk by them when they are flowering for 10 to 14 days you know they really do stink.

Property owners need to be mindful that these trees have a short life of only about 20 years.

Here in West Texas their weak branches easily break off during storms or high winds as the years go by. That seems to always happen at the worst time.

The Bradford Pear also Bradford is notorious for its unpredictable growth patterns. They can grow tall quickly and then suddenly start branching out in unexpected ways, which can make them difficult to manage and maintain.

Older Bradford Pears are Dangerous

As these trees get older they pose a greater danger as their branch joints are not stable and it’s not uncommon to see these trees split apart. The branches have narrow unions (also called crotches) and grow at steep angles.

Thorntons Tree Service removing Bradford Pear
Bradford Pear Removal South Abilene

Just last week we removed an old tall Bradford Pear that was planted fairly close to a home on the south side of Abilene.  The new homeowner knew those branches hanging over the house were dangerous. Our crews made quick work of safely removing the tree which was also close to the home’s incoming electric service line.

It’s even suggested that you don’t even park your vehicle under a Bradford Pear due to the potential splitting and the dropping of branches in high winds.

Bradford Pears Being Banned

Ohio has banned their sale starting this year, and South Carolina and Pennsylvania are banning their sale starting next year citing their invasiveness. According to the USDA when these trees border roads and fields, their dense growth and in some wild varieties sharp thorns threaten equipment and livestock. They can also grow in the understory of pine plantations, where they can impede some forest management practices.

If you’re looking to plant a new shade tree on your property here in West Texas, we suggest you consider Texas or Oklahoma Red Buds, Chinese Pistache, among others.

Our tree service sees this type of work all the time, fast-growing trees that need to be removed.

Many people, especially in newer subdivision demand shade, and they want it now.

The problem: our brutal west Texas weather of sizzling summers and (at times) unforgiving sub-freezing temperatures.

There are a number of fast-growing trees that people will plant, without thinking about the long-term benefits of planting proper shade trees on their property.

Texas Horticulturist and author Neil Sperry recently point out that all fast-growing shade trees have at least one fatal flaw. Most have several, and for that reason, property owners expect to have to replace them in as few as five or 10 years.

You can make a list of all the fast-growing shade trees, and every one of them will have some kind of bad news you can tack up beside it.

If you’re in the Abilene area, the tree recommendations will differ from Weatherford to Possum Kingdom Lake, to Wichita Falls.

The City of Abilene provides a great list of shrubs and trees that are great for in and around the city. You can download the list here.

The Big Country Master Gardeners also have a list of recommended trees.

Understanding the Difference Between Tree Trimming and Pruning

Though tree trimming and pruning sound similar, they are actually different. Tree trimming is generally performed for aesthetic reasons. This can include shaping the tree or removing dead branches from the tree. On the other hand, pruning is a horticultural practice that is performed in order to promote the health of the tree. This is where diseased or damaged branches are removed, the crown of the tree is thinned out to increase air circulation, or roots are reduced to control the growth of the tree. It’s important to understand the difference between these actions to properly care for your trees.

Types of Tree Trimming

Crown Thinning

Crown thinning is the selective removal of branches to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. It is generally used on broad-leaved trees, such as oaks, to reduce wind resistance or to allow more light to reach the ground. Crown thinning should not be confused with pruning, which is the removal of entire branches. Instead, crown thinning selectively removes individual branches throughout the crown of the tree. This process is often used to improve the tree’s appearance or to allow more light to reach the ground. In some cases, crown thinning can also help to reduce the weight of the tree’s canopy, which can help to prevent wind damage.

Crown Raising

Tree trimming technique that involves removing lower branches to create more clearance. This can help to improve the tree’s appearance, allow more light to reach the ground, and reduce the risk of damage from falling branches. In addition, crown raising can help to prevent the tree from becoming a nuisance or hazard.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction involves trimming back the outermost branches of a tree, reducing its overall size. It is used to clear tree branches from objects such as buildings, signs, or outdoor lights. This can help to reduce the risk of storm damage by reducing the tree’s wind resistance. Second, it can prevent the tree from interfering with power lines or other structures.

Crown Restoration

The process of removing damaged or diseased branches from a tree in order to promote new growth. Crown restoration trimming can be beneficial for both young and mature trees. By removing damaged branches, the tree is able to direct its energy toward new growth. This can help the tree to recover from storm damage or disease.

Types of Pruning

Crown Cleaning

Crown cleaning is a type of tree trimming that involves removing dead, diseased or damaged branches from the crown of the tree. This helps to improve the appearance of the tree and promotes its overall health. Crown cleaning is the most basic level of tree pruning and includes the removal of dead, dying, diseased and broken branches.

Removal Cut

Removal cutting is a type of pruning where the goal is to remove a specific branch or stem from a tree. This is usually done to improve the overall appearance of the tree, encourage new growth, or get rid of dead or damaged branches.

Reduction Cut

A reduction cut is a pruning cut that is used to reduce the overall size of a tree. This type of cut is typically made on large branches or stems, and it involves removing a portion of the plant material. Reduction cuts can be used to control the growth of a plant, shape its form, or reduce its weight. With proper care, reduction cuts can help keep your trees looking their best.

Heading Cut

Heading cut pruning is a method of pruning that involves making cuts to the main stem or trunk of a plant. This type of pruning is often used to control the shape and size of a tree or shrub, as well as to encourage denser growth. Heading cut pruning can be done at any time of year, but you may want to avoid it during the hottest part of our summers.

Removing Dead Branches

Regularly removing dead branches from trees not only keeps them looking good, but also helps to promote tree health. Dead branches provide a home for pests and diseases, which can then spread to the rest of the tree. These dead branches are more likely to break off in high winds we experience here in the Abilene, TX and Wichita Falls, TX, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Weatherford, TX areas and cause damage to both the tree and any nearby property. Pruning also allows more sunlight and air to reach the interior of the tree, which can help to prevent mold and fungus growth. Finally, pruning helps to encourage new growth, giving the tree a healthier appearance.

Regular tree care will keep your trees beautiful and healthy. By understanding these differences you can ensure that your trees receive the care they need to thrive here in the rough climate of West Texas.

For many Texas homeowners, the last thing on their minds in the winter may be doing tree trimming in winter months.

However, there are several good reasons to schedule your tree trimming for the winter months or toward the end of winter. In some instances, it is the preferred time of the year to prune certain trees.

If you need oak trees pruned then you should consider having this work done during the dormant season because there’s oak wilt. This would be the period from February to June when the insects that spread this disease are most active.

January and February are the best times to get trees trimmed in Texas.

Pruning during the winter months means less disruption to your other landscape plantings – especially annual flowers you might plant or your perennials.

After a tree has shed its leaves a tree trimming has a better view of the structure of the tree and can prune your tree accordingly. It’s easier for the tree pruner to see crossing branches, splits in branches or branch unions, and broken branches when they are not obstructed by leaves. The work also goes a LOT quicker.

Pruning a pecan tree should take place at the end of winter, just before the new buds form. This keeps the tree from putting too much energy into new growth that’s just going to be cut away.

Consider the top 6 things we believe you need to look for in a tree service in the Abilene,TX area.

When you are looking for a tree removal service, we believe there are six important things to keep in mind when choosing a tree removal service.

1. Insurance. We believe it’s a biggy. It’s an important thing you’ll want to check is that the tree service you hire is insured. Professional tree services should carry liability insurance to cover any damage that can potentially be done to your property. They should also carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover any injuries that their employees may sustain while working on your property. It also protects you from being sued should any injuries occur.

2. Licensure. Check to make certain that the company’s local government permit is up to date and meets the requirements for tree services.

3. Referrals. Can they provide you with a list of referrals for their work? Talking to their past customers can help you know what type of work to expect.  And see if they are a member of the local Better Business Bureau.

4. Estimate. When hiring a tree removal service in Abilene, TX make sure they will provide you will a detailed, written estimate of all charges. This will prevent you from incurring any surprise fees down the road. It’s always a smart idea to compare several companies when hiring someone to do work for you. Compare costs, services offered, equipment, and time estimate.

5. Equipment. Ask what type of equipment the company will be using. Do they have their own cranes for bigger jobs? Make sure they have all the necessary equipment to get your job done efficiently and with minimal damage to the rest of your property. Is their tree service just two guys with a pickup and a few chainsaws? Beware!

6. Google Reviews.  According to a recent study by, businesses with a high rating on Google reviews are five times more likely to be considered reputable by consumers.“82% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”

We also advise you to check to make sure they meet safety requirements. Make certain all of the tree removal service employees have helmets, other protective gear, and the right equipment to keep themselves safe on the job site. Make sure they are following this requirement.

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Serving Abilene, TX , Weatherford, TX, Snyder, TX, San Angelo, TX and West Central Texas
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